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GOP Fumes Over Obama's Budget Bill

By Thursday, 24 December 2015 12:56 PM Current | Bio | Archive

The budget bill to fund the government that Congress passed before adjourning last Friday is fast becoming an issue in contested Republican primaries for Congress in 2016.

Already the $1.1 trillion measure is emerging as a point of contention in the heated primary for Congress in Illinois’s Springfield-based 15th District, which was roughly the same district represented by Abraham Lincoln from 1846-48.

Billed by some in the press as the “dress rehearsal” for a string of showdowns between “tea partiers” and “establishment” Republicans, the March 15th contest features a challenge to 10-term Rep. John Shimkus from state Sen. Kyle McCarter, insurgent conservative.

Hours after the spending bill passed the House by a resounding vote of 316-to-113, McCarter sharply denounced his opponent’s “yea” vote.  The 2,242-page measure, he said, adds to the national debt and maintains federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

“Once again, John Shimkus has abandoned the people of Southern Illinois by supporting the liberal Obama-Pelosi spending agenda,” declared McCarter, “Whether it’s funding Planned Parenthood, supporting amnesty, or now voting for runaway spending, the truth is Washington has changed him into just another big-spending politician.”
The challenger’s salvo that Shimkus has “abandoned” Southern Illinois is underscored, McCarter told me, by the fact that “John originally campaigned on term limits and then broke his promise to step down after four terms.”

As a candidate for the open seat relinquished by Democratic Rep. Dick Durbin to run for the Senate, Shimkus in 1996 vowed to leave office in 2008 after serving 12 years.
“The longer people are in office, the more they lose touch with the people back home,” he said at the time, “Races become more exciting when neither candidate faces the power of an incumbent.”

In 2005, however, he announced he was breaking his term limit pledge, telling reporters “it was a mistake at the time, and it is a mistake today.  Unless everyone plays by the same rules, it doesn’t make sense.”

“John loves Washington D.C., wants to stay in Washington D.C., and, in the process, he lost his way,” said McCarter.

Even before the spending vote last week, the challenger said, Shimkus had been voting consistently “for budgets that included funding for Planned Parenthood and against measures that would have limited amnesty for illegal immigrants.”
On the latter, McCarter specifically cited Shimkus’ votes against an amendment to prohibit funding for the visa waiver program and to fund appropriations for the Department of Health and Human Services that did not include riders to stop President Obama’s controversial executive orders dealing with amnesties.

In contrast, McCarter pointed to his own record of supporting term limits and, upon taking his seat in 2009, vowing to limit his own term in the state senate to 2018. 

At 53, the maverick state senator sports a background different from many of the “tea party”-backed candidates who seem to “come out of nowhere” to take on  incumbents.  A graduate of Oral Roberts University, the young McCarter took the career admonition in the film “The Graduate” seriously, got into plastics, and launched a thriving fitness equipment business of his own. 

In what was a surprise to even himself, McCarter got into politics in ’09 when he was selected by local Republican leaders to fill the seat resigned by State Sen. Frank Watson.  As senator, he has been in the forefront of the reform agenda pushed by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner: pension and worker’s compensation reform, a freeze on property taxes, and right to work. 

“Unless we take drastic action such as that advocated by Gov. Rauner, Illinois will go the way of Greece in the not-too-distant future,” he said, “and unless we elect some different kinds of leaders nationally, I fear the same will happen to our country.”
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.

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The Omnibus Spending Bill to fund the government that Congress passed before adjourning last Friday is fast becoming an issue in contested Republican primaries for Congress in 2016.T Already the $1.1 trillion measure is emerging as a point of contention in the...
gizzi, spending, bill, primary, test, illinois
Thursday, 24 December 2015 12:56 PM
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